Napoli were finally beaten when Inter revive the Serie A title bid

  • Napoli’s Dries Mertens, on the right, reacts with his teammates after missing a scoring chance during the Serie A football match between Inter Milan and Napoli at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy, on Sunday, November 21, 2021.
    Associated Press

  • Inter Milan's Edin Dzeko celebrates with his teammates at the end of the Serie A football match between Inter Milan and Napoli at the San Siro Stadium, in Milan, Italy, on Sunday 21 November 2021. Inter Milan won 3-2.

    Inter Milan’s Edin Dzeko celebrates with his teammates at the end of the Serie A football match between Inter Milan and Napoli at the San Siro Stadium, in Milan, Italy, on Sunday 21 November 2021. Inter Milan won 3-2.
    Associated Press

  • Inter Milan players celebrate at the end of the Serie A football match between Inter Milan and Napoli at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy, on Sunday 21 November 2021. Inter Milan won 3-2.

    Inter Milan players celebrate at the end of the Serie A football match between Inter Milan and Napoli at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy, on Sunday 21 November 2021. Inter Milan won 3-2.
    Associated Press

  • Inter Milan's Alessandro Bastoni celebrates the end of the Serie A football match between Inter Milan and Napoli at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy, on Sunday 21 November 2021. Inter Milan won 3-2.

    Inter Milan’s Alessandro Bastoni celebrates the end of the Serie A football match between Inter Milan and Napoli at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy, on Sunday 21 November 2021. Inter Milan won 3-2.
    Associated Press

  • Napoli's Dries Mertens celebrates with his teammate Piotr Zielinski after scoring his team's second goal during the Serie A football match between Inter Milan and Napoli at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy, on Sunday, November 21, 2021.

    Napoli’s Dries Mertens celebrates with his teammate Piotr Zielinski after scoring his team’s second goal during the Serie A football match between Inter Milan and Napoli at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy, on Sunday, November 21, 2021.
    Associated Press

  • Napoli's Dries Mertens scores his team's second goal during the Serie A football match between Inter Milan and Napoli at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy, on Sunday, November 21, 2021.

    Napoli’s Dries Mertens scores his team’s second goal during the Serie A football match between Inter Milan and Napoli at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy, on Sunday, November 21, 2021.
    Associated Press

  • Inter Milan's Ivan Perisic, right, celebrates with his teammates after scoring his team's second goal in the Serie A football match between Inter Milan and Napoli at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy, on Sunday 21 November 2021.

    Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic, right, celebrates with his teammates after scoring his team’s second goal in the Serie A football match between Inter Milan and Napoli at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy, on Sunday 21 November 2021.
    Associated Press

  • Inter Milan's Ivan Perisic, left, celebrates with team-mate Hakan Calhanoglu after scoring his team's second goal after scoring his team's second goal during the Serie A football match between Inter Milan and Napoli at the San Siro Stadium, in Milan , Italy, Sunday.  November 21, 2021

    Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic, left, celebrates with team-mate Hakan Calhanoglu after scoring his team’s second goal after scoring his team’s second goal during the Serie A football match between Inter Milan and Napoli at the San Siro Stadium, in Milan , Italy, Sunday. November 21, 2021
    Associated Press

  • Napoli head coach Luciano Spalletti shouts to his players during the Serie A football match between Inter Milan and Napoli at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy, on Sunday 21 November 2021.

    Napoli head coach Luciano Spalletti shouts to his players during the Serie A football match between Inter Milan and Napoli at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy, on Sunday 21 November 2021.
    Associated Press

  • Napoli's Victor Osimhen receives medical attention during the Serie A football match between Inter Milan and Napoli at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy, on Sunday, November 21, 2021.

    Napoli’s Victor Osimhen receives medical attention during the Serie A football match between Inter Milan and Napoli at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy, on Sunday, November 21, 2021.
    Associated Press

  • Napoli's Andre Anguissa, left, and Inter Milan's Hakan Calhanoglu fight for the ball during the Serie A football match between Inter Milan and Napoli at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy, on Sunday, November 21, 2021.

    Napoli’s Andre Anguissa, left, and Inter Milan’s Hakan Calhanoglu fight for the ball during the Serie A football match between Inter Milan and Napoli at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy, on Sunday, November 21, 2021.
    Associated Press

  • MILAN – And then there was no one.

    Serie A leader Napoli lost for the first time this season as Inter Milan revived their Italian title bid with a 3-2 victory on Sunday.

    Inter, the defending champions, reduced the distance to Napoli and AC Milan to four points after 13 rounds and ended Napoli’s status as the last remaining undefeated team in Europe’s five major leagues.

    Dries Mertens, who had set up a vibrant final with Napoli’s late second goal, missed the chance to equalize in overtime as he blasted his shot over.

    It was Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti’s first return to the San Siro in Milan since being sacked by Inter despite leading to a fourth-place finish in 2019.

    Spalletti’s players wore jerseys and paid tribute to the great footballer Diego Maradona, who died on November 25 last year, but it was another Argentine who scored the winning goal.

    Lautaro Martínez scored Inter’s third goal on a counterattack in the 61st minute, set up by compatriot Joaquín Correa, who almost ran from one penalty area to another.

    Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanović saved the result with a brilliant save to dismiss Mário Rui in overtime, forcing the ball on the crossbar before Mertens missed.

    The visitors had first hit in the 17th, when Piotr Zielinski won the ball by Nicolo Barella, then recovered and ran forward to smash the ball from Lorenzo Insigne’s pass into the crossbar.

    Hakan Çalhano • lu equalized with a penalty in the 25th, awarded after Kalidou Koulibaly was penalized through VAR for handball after blocking Barella’s shot with his left arm.

    Inter coach Simone Inzaghi was booked for kicking the ball away after the whistle. Koulibaly received a yellow card after 80 minutes for unsportsmanlike behavior.

    It provoked a furious reaction before the break when Napoli goalkeeper David Ospina dismissed Barella. Inter scored from the resulting corner in the 44th minute when Ospina was powerless to keep Ivan Perišić’s header out at the nearest post.

    There was a long delay early in the second half after a bad head-to-head clash between Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and Inter’s Milan Skriniar. Osimhen was unable to continue and walked away with what appeared to be a cheekbone injury.

    Martínez scored, but Mertens secured a lively final as he pulled one back in the 78th with an excellent shot into the crossbar. It was his 137th goal for Napoli.

    There was another stop for another clash between Ospina and Inter striker Edin Džeko. Both continued with bandaged heads to watch the late drama.

    Andriy Shevchenko made his debut as Genoa coach against José Mourinho’s Roma team later.

    Earlier, a penalty kick from Brazilian striker João Pedro Cagliari helped leave the bottom of the table with a 2-2 draw against Sassuolo.

    Sampdoria’s 2-0 win over Salernitana left the bottom of the promotion in Cagliari’s place.

    Also, Nigerian striker David Okereke’s goal in the second half was enough for Venice to get away from Bologna with a surprising 1-0 victory.

    ___

    More AP Football: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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